“This is sports as a transformative power,” he said. “It’s sports content, but it’s really about the participants and what they get out of it.”
Prince Harry is the founder of the Games for wounded, injured or sick service personnel or veterans.
Up to 550 competitors from more than two dozen nations will take part in the B.C. event, which in addition to the new winter sports, will have events such as indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
Moore said there’s a unique camaraderie and collegial atmosphere among competing nations, which send athletes injured both physically and mentally as former members of their respective countries’ armed forces.
“They understand that what we’re doing is participating in a sporting event, but also participating in each other’s journey to wellness,” he said.
Retired naval lieutenant Stephen La Salle got word recently that he’d been selected for Team Canada at next year’s Games, and he’s hoping to connect with fellow injured veterans also on the “lonely journey” of recovery.
La Salle, who lives in Ontario, lost his leg in an accident during a training exercise back in 2018, and said it’s been a difficult adjustment both physically and mentally.
“You’re going from being somebody who used to be very active and you know, very athletic … to really adjusting to a new way of living and not necessarily being as active as you once were and overcoming the mental blocks to stay active,” he said.
“Physical activity is so huge in dealing with the mental health aspect that comes from not only your time (serving) but your time being injured.”
La Salle said his participation in the Canadian Armed Forces Soldier On program, and the Invictus Games next year, will give him a chance to connect with other injured veterans.
“Something like Invictus gives us sort of a reason to, you know, push forward,” he said. “But the challenge I think for any veteran after being injured and being released, it’s a very lonely journey, so being a part of something like Soldier On and Invictus allows us to feel connected with other veterans and that community that we’re so used to and we miss so much.”
The purpose of this week’s training camp is to support those nations taking part in the Games to build year-round adaptive sports programs.
Prince Harry and Meghan are expected to join the participants during some of the events at the camp on Wednesday and Thursday in Whistler and on Friday in Vancouver.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2024.
The Canadian Press